How To Clean Stainless Steel

Despite the name, stainless steel actually can get stains on it from time to time. Somehow a name like “stainless” invokes a wonder-material that you can just wipe 100% clean with water every time. Obviously that’s not the case, or I wouldn’t be writing this post. In this post, I’ll share how I clean stainless steel at home using a simple ingredient.

The “stainless” part of stainless steel just means that it doesn’t rust, and that’s why stainless steel is often used for cookware that gets lots of contact with water, or that needs to hold up to lots of wear and tear.

Because it works so hard, one can only expect stainless steel to become grimy and dirty over time. But (in my opinion), nothing looks prettier in the kitchen than a sparkling stainless steel appliance.

That’s why I spent an afternoon diligently testing out different cleaners to see which one would work the best to remove the different types of stains that had accumulated on my various steel appliances. In the end, the solution to getting my stainless steels clean and sparkling was a lot easier and cheaper than I’d imagined!

But I also learned that there are different types of stains that affect stainless steel. For example, the inside of my rice cooker, which boils water to complete evaporation several times a week, had a different type of staining than the outside of the cooker (that had been spattered with sauces and grease and had had almost no contact with water).

The three key ingredients for cleaning all of these stainless steel areas were dish soap, vinegar, and cream of tartar.

Cleaning Water Stains From Stainless Steel

First I added distilled white vinegar to my stainless steel rice cooker and scrubbed it just a tiny bit, to make sure it came in contact with all the grime.
After coating the walls of the rice cooker with vinegar, I turned it to “ON” for about 2 minutes, then turned it off. By this time the vinegar had boiled inside the pot.
Then I rinsed out the pot with warm water, and just a little bit more scrubbing. The grime pretty much came right off without any real effort from me.
See how my rice cooker shines like new after a final wiping! I love how easy it is to clean my stainless steel rice cooker and I expect it to last for another 30 or more years. This rice cooker is made by Tatung and I highly recommend it.
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Cleaning Grease Stains From Stainless Steel

I usually keep my stainless steel tea kettle on my stove all the time. You never know when you need to quickly add a splash of water when you’re cooking on the stove, right?

But my poor tea kettle has had to endure getting spattered with hot grease over and over again. This is what it looked like AFTER I tried to just scrub it off with dish soap only:

In order to get those grease stains off, I used a combination of dish soapy water and cream of tarter.

This large spray bottle is one of my cleaning secret weapons. I just filled it with water, added a single drop of dish soap, and swirled it around. It can effectively clean many kitchen surfaces for fractions of a penny, and I use it every day.
So first, I sprayed the steel tea kettle generously with my water/dishsoap spray.
Then I sprinkled all the sides of it with cream of tartar, and used my soft scrub brush to help coat the pot completely. Once it was nicely coated, I just let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Here’s the result, after rinsing and wiping off the tea kettle. Wasn’t hard at all!

As is often the case when it comes to cleaning, TIME is one of the most powerful cleaning helpers you can have. You just have to take the first step and apply your cleaning solution, then just wait for it to do it’s magic.

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